Born in Cuba in 1954, Gimenez immigrated to the United States with his family following the Cuban Revolution in 1960. His family settled in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood and Gimenez has been a Miami-Dade resident ever since. Mayor Gimenez has dedicated his life to his community and the people of Miami-Dade County as a firefighter, an administrator and as an elected public servant.
As Miami-Dade Mayor, Gimenez is the highest-ranking elected official and chief administrator of Florida’s largest county. He was elected Mayor of Miami-Dade, Florida’s largest county, in a 2011 special election and re-elected in 2012 and 2016.
Elected in 2011 with a mandate for change, during a time of economic crisis, declining household incomes and job losses, Gimenez has led dramatic positive change in South Florida by balancing the county’s budget every year without raising taxes and delivering Miami-Dade taxpayers the largest tax cut in county history. The Gimenez tax cut has saved property taxpayers more than $1.9 billion, or more than $1700 per household.
During his tenure as Mayor, the unemployment rate in Miami-Dade has dropped from more than 10 percent to 3.6 percent, marking one of the country’s most impressive turnarounds.
To help bring the county budget under control, Gimenez cut his own salary by fifty percent and cut his office budget by over $1 million. He put the county’s checkbook online so all taxpayers could see how their tax dollars were being spent. To drive efficiencies and make county government more effective Gimenez reduced the number of county departments from 42 to 26, eliminated 1700 positions and renegotiated contracts with public sector labor unions, saving taxpayers over $400 million. In his first two years in office, Gimenez reduced the wait time on county permit processing by three months.
After graduating from Christopher Columbus High School, Gimenez earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration from Barry University and spent twenty-five years as a firefighter with the Miami Fire-Rescue Department, nine as Chief.
Having been recognized for his management of the Miami Fire-Rescue Department, Gimenez was appointed Manager of the City of Miami in 2000, where he brought fiscal sustainability and reliability overseeing a $500 million annual budget and 4000 employees. Due to sound fiscal practices, Gimenez reduced the tax rate to its lowest level in 50 years while creating a $140 million reserve and elevating the City’s bond rating from “junk” status to investment grade.
Before his election as Mayor, Gimenez was an elected member of the Board of County Commissioners from 2004 to 2011.
Mayor Gimenez and his wife, the former Lourdes Portela, have three adult children and six grandchildren.